Also avoid talking about how busy you are and how you are overworked.

It may be true that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially as a new starter. But complaining is never a good idea and it never improves your reputation.

It’s also true that in most jobs there is more work than time available, so your co-workers are probably in the same boat.

You are a professional now, and professionals don’t create drama, they work on solutions. So if you are feeling overworked talk to your boss about it in a positive way. How?

Well you could explain how you are prioritising your work and seek advice about whether this is acceptable to the boss. That way you are saying, yes I can do all this work, and this is the way I think is the best way of doing it, and this is my timing.

This would be more positive and professional than complaining about your work load and suggesting that one of your co-workers (who

you may mention to your boss is not pulling their weight) should take on some of your jobs.
That approach sends out all the

wrong messages.


That’s not fair!

Your positive attitude will be tested when you see things at the workplace that seem unfair.

It is very annoying when you see inequality in the workplace. Perhaps someone seems to be the boss’s pet and gets all the good jobs. Nothing upsets a team quicker than if someone has special treatment. A team can accept really poor treatment for a long time, provided that the team perceives that everyone is being treated equally.

However, you should never say to the boss, “That’s not fair.” For the simple reason that work isn’t fair. It’s not fair up and down the organisation, and it’s not fair across co-workers.

The best approach is to be professional, do your job to the best of your ability and don’t get distracted by lack of equality or fairness issues.

Likewise there is little point in complaining to your co-workers about perceived unfairness in the workplace. In most cases they will be able to point to worse cases of unfairness.

Complaining about fairness in the workplace is worse than a waste of time, because it will undermine your enthusiasm and optimism - two essential things to protect when you are building your reputation.

Unfairness - it’s a fact of life in any workplace – get used to it.

Promises, promises

One danger of an optimistic attitude is in the area of making promises.

As a professional you need to be careful with making promises, especially those that you know you cannot deliver on. True professionals always under promise and over deliver. So if a job can possibly be done by 3pm, but definitely by 4pm, a professional will promise to have the job done (and self - checked) by 4.30pm and try to achieve a 3pm target.

A big mistake a new starter will often make is to promise what the customer or boss wants to hear. That may get them out of your hair for a while. But what you are really doing is damaging to your own reputation and the company’s reputation. It makes you appear dishonest and incompetent. These are things you do not want to be known for.

So only make promises that you know you can keep. If you are under pressure it is better to say that you will try your best but “I am NOT promising”. Say it at least twice because chances are that the person asking you will not hear the second part of your reply the first time.

Promises are important, and especially if you make a promise to a customer. It has been known for a while that if you deliver to a customer as promised, or better, then 2 or 3 other people may hear about it. Maybe that doesn’t sound that great to you. But the other side of the coin is that if you break a promise to a customer, a customer will tell, on average, 22 others about their experience.

So be very careful about making promises at work; they carry extremely powerful impacts on your and the company’s reputation.

Never promise something you know you cannot achieve. If you can, deliver a little bit more than you have promised.

I’m so bored!

You may be tempted, but never say that you are bored.

Clearly new starters can’t be kept busy all the time. There are periods where you will just have to go out and find something to do. Offer to help out in other areas, or find some job that no one ever gets round to and make it your own. There is always something that can be done.

Being pro-active in finding work has several benefits for you.
It stops the boss wondering why he is paying you. (Which he will ask himself if you are looking bored.)

Also it starts to make you indispensible to the company, because more jobs are seen as “your” jobs.

But most importantly, it builds your reputation as a positive, enthusiastic worker always ready and looking out for ways to help the team.